Essex County Member of Newark Drug Trafficking Organization Responsible for Distribution of Over 1 Kilogram of Heroin Sentenced to 210 Months in Prison
CAMDEN, N.J. – An Atlantic County, New Jersey, man today admitted his role in drug distribution scheme, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Ricardo Clavijo, 40, of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, pleaded guilty today before the U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to distribute over one kilogram of heroin, one count of possession with intent to distribute over one kilogram of heroin, and one count of maintaining a drug-related premises.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On July 12, 2021, a search warrant was executed at Clavijo’s residence, where law enforcement authorities encountered Clavijo and his brother, Christopher Gonzalez. Authorities found a drug packaging facility in the basement, as well as 4.3 kilograms of heroin, 5.5 kilograms of fentanyl, 10.8 kilograms of cocaine, drug packaging materials and equipment, and a money counting machine. Some of the heroin was already packaged in tens of thousands of individual doses, ready for street-level distribution. Agents also seized a .45 caliber handgun, a loaded magazine for the handgun, a 9mm 50-round drum magazine, and $8,457 in cash, all of which will be forfeited by Clavijo as part of his guilty plea.
The conspiracy count and possession with intent to distribute count to which Clavijo pleaded guilty both carry a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison, a maximum term of life in prison and a fine of $10 million, or twice the gross gain or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest. The count of maintaining a drug-related premises carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 7, 2022.
Gonzalez is charged by complaint with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute over one kilogram of heroin.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Newark Division, DEA Atlantic County HIDTA Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting County Prosecutor Cary Shill, and the Egg Harbor Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michael T. Hughes, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew B. Johns of the Criminal Division in Camden.
The charges and allegations contained in Gonzalez’s complaint are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.